Rustenburg is situated to the northwest of the Johannesburg/Pretoria metropolitan area, and is the heart of the savannah bushveld associated with the beautiful Magaliesberg and Marico river Valley. The local attractions include the Magaliseburg Nature Reserve and the unique Pilanesberg Game Park. It is also close to the iconic South African pleasure playground of Sun City that incorporates the Palace of the Lost City.
Like most South African cities Rustenburg played a part in the defining struggle of the nation’s formation, the Anglo/Boer War. It is also the home of the Bafokeng, or People of the Dew, one of the many language groups that call South Africa home.
There is not much to see in Rustenburg itself, which, despite a population of over 300 000, offers little in the way of nightlife or urban pleasures. It is known mainly for a variety of sites of historic and cultural interest, and of course the many and varied wildlife and nature destinations. These include the Groot Marico, Pilanesberg National Park, Haartebeestepoort Dam and the Magaliesberg Nature Reserve.
The Magaliesberg and Marico Valley lie in an region of dry sub-ropical woodland savannah with a mild climate year round. This is a summer rainfall area, with summer (Nov-Feb) temperatures peaking at an easy 35°C, but usually closer to 25-28°C, and winter (May-Sep) norms averaging about 17-20°C during the day.
When To Go
There is no perfect time to visit. There is so much to see and do, and the outlying areas and nature destinations are all highly accessible so seasonal accessibility problems do not arise. Sun City and the local wildliofe and pleasure spot can be crowded during the school holidays, so advance booking is usually a good idea at these times.
Crime: Rustenburg is not as dangerous as Johannesburg or Cape Town, but it is still a high crime region and no chances at any time should be taken in and around the city. The dangers of street crime and muggings are as high as anywhere else in South Africa. Don’t be fooled by the easygoing atmosphere. Keep your wits about you and remember that South Africa is one of the most dangerous countries in the world. There are certain areas that are more dangerous than others, although nowhere is particularly safe on the streets after dark, so seek and follow local advice on the matter of crime and general safety wherever and with whomever you go.
Leave important documents in a safe place. All hotels, lodges and hostels offer safe lock up facilities
Seek safety advice from you hospitality establishment wherever you are
Avoid walking anywhere after dark, particularly in urban areas, and particularly in the CBD of any of the larger cities and towns
Don’t leave anything of value in your car overnight
Incidences of car hijackings in South Africa are high Always be aware of your surroundings, particularly at night
Don’t stop on any of the freeways for more than a few minutes, and in the instance of a breakdown, call for help
AIDS: Any kind of casual sexual encounter in South Africa, as with anywhere in the world these days, is to be discouraged. South Africa has one of the highest infection rates on the planet, about 1 in 4 of the population, so obviously extra caution is necessary when visiting any destination on the sub-continent.
In most of South Africa tropical diseases are rare. While Rustenburg enjoys a very mild, sub-tropical climate, incidences of malaria are rare, although there are occasionally mosquitoes about, and repellent is a must. As a matter of policy a course of anti-malarial drugs are advisable, particularly if you intend traveling further north up the coast.
Travel Doctor clinics are to be found in all the major centers where you can get health advice on malaria, yellow-fever, AIDS and any other tropical diseases, and acquire all the vaccinations and prophylactics necessary for your extended journey.
Tap water is usually safe to drink.
Sunburn risks are high so hats, long sleeved T-shirts and sun screen are a must.